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Letter from the Chair 2019

Kris JankovitzGreetings from the department chair’s office. I hope this newsletter finds you well. I'm excited to share a few stories of the great work being done by our students and faculty and provide a few updates about the Kinesiology and Public Health Department at Cal Poly. 

Our department welcomed the first freshman cohort for the bachelor’s degree in public health in fall 2018. The program is going very well, and we are pleased that both of our degree programs attract high-achieving and well-qualified applicants. 

Fall 2019’s new arrivals will include three tenure-track faculty members. Stefanee Maurice and Jafra Thomas will bring their teaching and research expertise in the areas of psychology and sociology of sport, exercise and physical activity, and Joni Roberts specializes in global and multicultural health. We are also pleased that all three of our new faculty members have been selected to participate in an interdisciplinary cohort of faculty members who will focus on advancing diversity, inclusion and equity across the curriculum, in their scholarship and in service to the campus community. 

Other new arrivals involve equipment and renovated laboratory spaces to facilitate cutting-edge instruction and student research opportunities. The department has added a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, or DXA, to our Body Composition Laboratory. We now have state-of-the-art technology to assess bone density and body composition, and it is a great addition to the Bod-Pod and BIA devices. 

We have also added a computational laboratory to support undergraduate and faculty research and recently retrofitted the classroom in the Human Performance Laboratory with a 28-station computer lab, large monitors and tables to facilitate collaborative work in our laboratory spaces.

A new Learn by Doing opportunity for the Center for Health Research (formerly STRIDE) arrived this past spring. The state-of the-art Women and Infants Mobile Health Unit, which was made possible through donor support, will provide free health outreach and counseling services to underserved populations on the Central Coast. Students will get hands-on experience working with medical professionals and faculty researchers. 

This newsletter will spotlight some of the amazing research that our students and faculty are doing together. For example, students are testing a novel training technique on competitive surfing performance. Others are developing and testing interventions to increase bystander intervention to prevent sexual assault and better understand the consequences of sexual assault. Some are studying whether incentivizing cancer survivors through donations to cancer charities increases physical activity, while others are studying the effects of different crank lengths on cycling performance.

Our students are presenting their research findings at conferences sponsored by organizations such as the Southwest American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the American Public Health Association, the National ACSM, and the Society of Public Health Education, just to name a few. They are also co-authoring articles for publication. During 2017 and 2018 kinesiology and public health faculty had more than 55 publications in peer-reviewed publications, many with student co-authors.

This summer, 20 kinesiology and public health majors will receive Frost Research Fellow awards to work on research with faculty mentors. These fellowship awards are thanks to the generous gift from William (Biochemistry, ’72) and Linda Frost.

We are so fortunate to have the ongoing support of our alumni to provide high impact Learn by Doing experiences for our students.

Please take good care and keep in touch. Your college days may be over, but Learn by Doing never ends!

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